Teacher Information about ACES
Access to Creative Education in Scotland (ACES) is a Widening Participation project for eligible pupils in years S4-6 who attend a Scottish state school and who are interested in studying a visual creative subject such as art, design or architecture at university.
Access to Creative Education in Scotland (ACES) is a national Widening Participation (WP) project, funded by the Scottish Funding Council (SFC). The project aims to support eligible S4-S6 pupils in Scottish state secondary schools who are considering pursuing degrees or careers in art, design or architecture.
ACES Edinburgh supports pupils and teachers in state schools in the South East of Scotland and is a multi-exit programme. That means we will support pupils and teachers in local schools regardless of where they may want to study. We will support young people with their creative development, exploration of their future options, and help them create a competitive application for the degree that is right for them.
We also provide information and Continual Professional Development (CPD) opportunities for local state school teachers in relevant subject areas or pupil supporting roles.
We have put together key information and links to great resources for all pupils interested in pursuing a degree in art, design or architecture. You and your pupils can access these for free, regardless of their eligibility for ACES.
Support we offer to eligible pupils
ACES Edinburgh staff will advise and support eligible young people through all stages from pre-application to submitting a strong application to visual creative degrees.
We run a variety of events throughout the year for ACES pupils in S4-S6. Our events aim to give you insight into the different subjects, the range of careers in the Creative Industries, and opportunities for you to improve and widen your skill set.
All of our activities are free of charge to ACES pupils and we will provide materials and resources.
You can find out what events and support are open for booking by reading your ACES Teacher newsletter or by following us on Instagram @ACES_Edinburgh.
The ACES year typically includes (subject to change and may include additional events):
- June - Graduate Show visits (S4-S6)
- July - Summer School (S4-S6)
- August-October - Information Sessions around applying to creative degrees, personal statements, and portfolios (S5-S6)
- August-January - Portfolio Preparation Programme (typically S5, S6)
- September-October - Drawing Club (S4-S6)
- October - Subject Taster Sessions (S4-S6)
- November-March - Portfolio Feedback Sessions (typically S5, S6)
- January - Interview Workshop (typically S5, S6)
- February - Information Sessions around degree choices (S4-S6)
- February-March - Gallery and exhibition visits (S4-S6)
The eligibility criteria for ACES are set by the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) and you learn more about the range of access initiatives they fund on the SFC website.
ACES Edinburgh works with eligible S4-S6 pupils attending state secondary schools in:
- The Lothians (East Lothian, Midlothian & West Lothian)
- Scottish Borders
If a young person attends a state secondary school in any of the above local authority areas AND meets any of the below criteria, they will be eligible to sign up for ACES Edinburgh:
- Lives in a Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD) Quintile 1 or 2 postcode area
- Is Care Experienced
- Is a Young Carer
- Is estranged from their family
- Is a Refugee or Asylum Seeker
- Is entitled to Free School Meals (FSM)
- Is entitled to Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA)
- Lives in a low-income household in receipt on state benefits
- Lives in an area considered to be remote and/or rural
- Is facing educational disadvantages due to challenging circumstances
For pupils in other areas, there are three other ACES programmes which make up the national ACES programme: ACES Glasgow School of Art; ACES Robert Gordon University and ACES University of Dundee.
Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD) quintile 1-2
You can use the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation to find your postcode category. Use the link below and follow the steps:
Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation
1. Type your postcode into the ‘area finder’ box on the left
2. Click ‘GO’
3. Hover at the bottom of the yellow marker that appears on the map
4. If the ‘current data zone’ box on the right of the screen states ‘Quintile 1’ or ‘Quintile 2’ then you are eligible to register with the project.
We define care experience as any time spent in care at any stage of your life.
Care may have been provided in one of many different settings, such as if you were:
- in residential care
- foster care
- kinship care
- looked after at home with a supervision requirement
This includes adopted children who were previously looked after.
Estranged young people are without the financial or emotional support of their family due to a breakdown in the relationship.
We define a Young Carer as a young person who cares, unpaid, for a friend or family member.
This means caring for someone, who due to illness, disability, mental health issues, or an addiction, cannot cope without your support.
We consider any young person who is eligible for Free School Meals (FSM) or Educational Maintenance Allowance (EMA) as coming from a low-income household. In addition to this, any state benefits received within the household will be considered as making the young person eligible for ACES and Reach Edinburgh.
Rural or Remote
Any young person who is resident in an area considered to be remote and/or rural according to categories 4-8 on the Scottish Government’s 8-Fold Urban Rural Classification 2020 will be eligible.
We are committed to supporting young people facing educational disadvantages due to challenging circumstances that have impacted a young person’s education. We will review recommendations from school staff that outline the impact of challenging circumstances on the educational experiences and opportunities available to their learners on a case-by-case basis.
Examples of challenging circumstances impacting on a young person's learning may include disability, mental ill health, lack of educational opportunities within relevant subject areas, sexual or gender identity, bereavement, or ethnic minority. This is not a definitive list.
As member of staff in a local state school, you can send us a brief description of your pupil's individual challenging circumstances and how those impact on their education. Please send this via email to firstname.lastname@example.org for any pupil interested in art, design, or architecture. We will do our best to review this within one working week.
Do you have questions about our eligibility criteria?
If you are unsure whether your learners meet any of our criteria, please contact us directly and we will happily help you.
1. Pupils will need to register first
Pupils can register to join ACES Edinburgh by completing our online form:
2. Pupils can then book any of our events
Once a pupil is registered with ACES Edinburgh, we will be in touch with them directly and they can use the form below to book onto our events:
ACES Edinburgh supports teachers working in state secondary schools in:
- The Lothians (East Lothian, Midlothian & West Lothian)
- Scottish Borders
... and who teach ACES-relevant subject areas or have a pupil supporting role including:
- Teachers of relevant subject areas such as Art and Design, Photography, Graphic Communication, Drama, or Design and Manufacture
- Teachers in roles such as Guidance Teachers, Heads of House, Career Advisers, or Pupil Support
Support and events we offer to teachers
ACES Edinburgh will advise teachers who support ACES Edinburgh pupils with their application to visual creative degrees. In addition to this, we offer Continual Professional Development (CPD) opportunities which may count towards the requirement to engage in Professional Learning for teachers registered in Scotland.
All of our activities for teachers are free of charge and we will provide all required materials.
Events and activities may include, but are not limited to:
- Introduction to ACES and the support we offer
- Information Sessions around application process and portfolios
- Visits of the Edinburgh College of Art campus and Graduate Show
- In-school visits
Upcoming events for teachers are announced via email to all local state secondary school teachers who are subscribed to our ACES Teacher Newsletter.
Every year, we sent a letter to schools with ACES posters and leaflets. You're welcome to download our poster below and display it in your school.
Any questions? Contact us
- Work: +44 (0)7766 511980
- Email: email@example.com
The ACES Teams works between different University buildings as well as from home. You can best reach us via email and the work phone.
Monday - Friday:
09:00 - 17:00
We run out-of-hours events which may impact availability.
ACES is run in collaboration with Reach: Scotland, a project managed by five universities throughout Scotland (the University of Aberdeen; the University of Dundee; the University of Edinburgh; the University of Glasgow; and the University of St Andrews), and funded by the Scottish Funding Council. The University of Edinburgh is responsible for the delivery of ACES and Reach in the south east of Scotland.